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Suspended prosecutor general appears before Supreme Court on graft charges

Matti Nissinen stands accused of nepotism over the course of a decade, beginning when he was a district prosecutor in 2007. Unusually, his case is being heard in the Supreme Court first without recourse to lower courts.

Matti Nissinen
Matti Nissinen arrived in court on Wednesday. Image: Jari Kovalainen / Yle

Finland's suspended Prosecutor General Matti Nissinen made an emotional appearance before the Supreme Court on Wednesday as a suspect in a corruption probe.

Nissinen has been charged with official misconduct for commissioning some 74,000 euros worth of training services from his brother's company. He ordered the services from Deep Lead, owned by Vesa Nissinen, over the course of a decade, beginning in 2007.

He served as a district prosecutor from then until 2010, when he was appointed as Prosecutor General.

Under Finnish law, if a state prosecutor faces charges, the trial is conducted solely at the Supreme Court, skipping over lower courts.

Nissinen admits that he acted carelessly, but denies any intentional misconduct. He nearly broke down on the stand, saying he does not recall much about his first year and a half after being appointed to his post. Nissinen’s lawyer noted that the prosecutor’s wife died in an accident on the day that he was appointed.

The Ministry of Justice suspended Nissinen from his post in September. Before that he had on a leave of absence at his own initiative since March, beginning when the pre-trial investigation was launched.

The court is expected to rule on the case before the end of the year.

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